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tv   Nightline  ABC  August 17, 2011 11:35pm-12:00am EDT

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tonight on "nightline," babies for sale. a shocking expose of a black market baby ring, targeting desperate parents with hundreds of thousands to spend. how a glamorous new york socialite helped the fbi make the sting. nature's cutest. it's something only very few humans have witnessed before. tiny balls of fluff, taking their first peek at a big, white world. our cameraraare invited on a rare expedition for polar cuddle fest. and so you think you can paint? tired of looking at the same four walls? so was he. how a regular guy turned his entire house into a replica of the sistine chapel. who does this? and why?
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>> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with cynthia mcfadden, terry moran, bill weir and, tonight, juju chang in new york city, this is "nightline," august 17th, 2011. >> good evening, i'm juju chang. receiving babies is a crime that happens every day on the international black market. it become as sophisticated as it is highly profitable. tonight, we meet a striking blond, a single mother on a quest to adopt a siblili for her daughter. buff she stumbled onto this undergrgund world. and what she did next is breathtaking. here's abc's dan harris. >> reporter: she's the socialite and single m mher who was roped into being an unlikely but highly effective crime fighter. the story started in 2009, when taylor stein, daughter of a legendary new york city rock promoter and a boldfaced name on the social scene, decided she wanted a sibling for her daughter. she looked into foster care and
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private adoption, but neither worked out. >> i was heartbroken because it was something that i always wanted to do and i was on a mission. >> reporter: but then, she met a lawyer named hilary neiman who hadd something incredible to offer. >> it was unique, all right. she had a set of intended parents and the intended parents had hired a surrogate to carry third party embryo. mid-pregnancy, i think it was in the fifth month, they had walked away from the deal. >> reporter: neiman was offering to let taildataylor take over. it seemed like the perfect solution. she impressed you? >> she impressed me. >> reporter: at that point, you say, all right, i'm going to go with it. you seem like you would be hard to sucker. this woman, let's be honest, she suckered you. how much money? >> initially, i believe it was 180. >> reporter: you sent her
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$180,000? >> i did. she was giving me a baby. >> reporter: the baby was real, but everything else was a lie. the lawyer was part of an illegal baby selling ring, along with two other women, one of whom, teresa ericsson, was so well-known in the sure ga si field that she hosted her own radio show. >> and hello and welcome back to the sure ga si lawyer radio show. >> reporter: according to court documents, the women were creating babies for the sole purpose or selling them. here's how it worked. surrogates were paid about 40 grand and sent to you crane, where they were impregnated with embryos. once the surrogates were in their second trimester, the lawyers got to workshoping the babies around for hundreds of thousands of dollars. they were exploiting a booming market for sure ga si, which has been popularized by celebrities like sarah jessica parker, ricky martin and nicole kidman. but even in this crowded marketplace, the tacticssed by the baby ring stood out.
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we found this ad posted online, guaranteeing a healthy baby but warning of very high expenses. >> when we first heard about this, we found it shocking. >> reporter: this special agent from the fbi worked on the case. >> it's a very minimal check and they are giving babies away to the highest bidder. >> reporter: they needed somebody on the inside to crack this case. >> the fbi gave me a call after i'm dropping my daughter off for school and they asked me where i am and then they tell me they're sitting outside of my home. >> reporter: that's got to be terrifying. what did they say to you? >> they told me that they thought i had been involved in international fraud. the first thing i asked, does the baby exist. and they told me he did. and -- oh, wow. i couldn't really think straight for the next five minutes because i was just slipping out. >> reporter: how scared were you that was not going to happen? >> pretty scared.
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>> reporter: you wasn't to stop? >> yeah. >> reporter: this is tough? >> yeah. >> reporter: even though she was terrified about losing the baby she already considered to be her son, who was to be born in go weeks, this former socialite agreed to become an fbi informant, wearing a wire to collect evidence. >> i don't know if i'm going to get my baby, and i didn't know, and i said, but i'm going to take these people down for everything they put me through and everything i'm imagining that they're putting other women through. >> reporter: it worked. the baby brokers were arrested. they've all pled guilty and they will be sentenced this fall. >> as soon as you put an egg and sperm together, i think you have to be very careful about the intent of what you're doing. >> reporter: leading fertility dr. nicole noith says she hopes this will be a wakeup call for the industry. >> as the technology vances, we have to be thoughtful about everything is used and i'm not sure everyone is on the same page with what's ethical and
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what's not. >> reporter: but the arrests did not solve a major problem for taylor stein. what would happen to the baby, the baby she considered hers? she tracked down the surrogate mom and took her in, caring for her personally until she gave birth. >> i saw him born and you know, we cut the umbilical cord. so, that was pretty intense. and before he went into pam's arms, he came into mine and i took off my shirt and i held him against my bare skin and it was unbelievable. it was one of the most incredible moments. >> reporter: a moment that almost didn't happen. now, baby ren, as he's called, is 5 months old and feisty. thanks to a glamorous mom who has gone from the society pages to the crime blotter. you took the bull by the horns here. sort of a maternal ferocity. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: where did you get the gumption to do that? >> i don't know.
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i felt like fighting for this little boy. >> reporter: f for "nightltle," this is dan harris in new york. >> now that's a happy ending. our thanks to dan harris. and just aheaea what is cuter than polar bears? baby polar bears. our cameras head out on a rare expedition to capture nature's cutest.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with juju chang. >> you know, tiny polar bear cubs are among the cutest creatures on the planet. unfortunately, they're also in trouble. a new study finds that polar bears are having to swim farther every year to reach disappearing
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arctic ice. one bear was tracked swimming 426 miles. it's extremely rare for humans to get a peak at remote sub-zero polar bear territory. but tonight, we do. here's abc's neal karlinsky with an encore presentation for our series, "into the wild." >> reporter: we've joined up with a small group of some of the world's leading wildlife photographers for the privilege of something something so rare only a few hundred people on earth have believed to have ever experienced it up close. polar bear mothers taking their newborn cubs out into the world for the very first time. getting here isn't easy. a flight to winnipeg, followed by a small plane to churchill, manitoba then a brain ride through the arctic. here goes the train. we are in the middle of nowhere, on the tundra, approaching 40
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below. middle of the night. and the train's leaving us here. another hour later, we're at a place called the watchee wrong. it's only open six weeks a year. there is no running water. and spatatis extremely limited. inside, hard core wildlife photographers from every corner of the globe. in the morning, they pile into vans converted with tank treads, hoping to find white bears hidden in white snow caves, in conditions that can kill a person in minutes. >> we have the tracks heading out and then another set coming back in here. >> reporter: it's more than 40 degrees below zero. i'm wearing a ridiculous amount of clothing. and surrounded by people with fresh frostbite. as a native guy points out a set of unmistakable footprints. we're tracking a polar bear family. >> same bear checking out the area here. we'll scope it out. there may be a den close by.
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>> reporter: on our first day, we spent eight hours staring at a hole in the snow. and then, just as a cold so painful it made hi hands feel like they were be being stabbed by a thousands tiny daggers, this, a cub poking his little black nose out, playing and tumbling back inside. when you see them, they're look walking fluff balls, pure white, playing and climbing adop impossibly sleepy mothers. if you've ever seen pictures of baby polar bears this is almost certainly where they were taken. these baby polar bears, this is the first time they're seeing the sky. >> that's right. they're emerging from the den. she's introducing them to the world and cubs are cubs. they're playful, they're running around, they're not listening to mother, naturally. they're enjoying themselves. they're experiencing the world for the first time. >> reporter: lifelong tracker morris spence finds the clues from the back of his snow mobile. and he has a face full of pros
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bite burns to show for it. i have to say, you ride around on a snow mobile and your mustache is ice right now. >> yeah, yeah. always like that. >> reporter: are there certain spots that you routinely see them making dens? >> not really. they're just a traveling bear. when she stops, she will stop and rest and nurse, a little rest and away they go. >> reporter: we were incredibly lucky and found bears for four days straight. they travel to this exact slice of canada every november to bear their young deep inside snow caves, emerging just before ring to make a 40-mile walk back to hudson bay and the frozen water that will take them to their first solid food. are you not just astounded by where you're standing right now? >> i'm amazed. and one of the most privileged people on the planet to be here. this is part of my job. very few humans actually get to be this close to a polar bear with its cub. >> reporter: polar bear researcher pete ewens is here to
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study them. and he says climate change is depleting the sea ice these bears rely on to reach the only food on their menu. sales. >> these are the best studied bears on the planet. so, the answer to that is pretty accurate. and they are in decline. well over half of them will die in the first year. it's that critical survival of the cubs that determines your reunitment into your population. >> reporter: he says our trip matches the statistics. single cubs nearly every day from mothers who used to routinely have two. our last day would be the exception. suddenly, hours of breakdowns in the unforgiving tundra open up to yet another slumbering mother, but this time, with not one, but three cubs slowly waking up to play. as the wind kicks up, ice begins to form on some of the photographers' eyelashes. they're freezing as they wait for the mother to make a move. when she does, watch the cub
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through the legs. did you catch it? one photographer did. the mother bears hulking size seems to unravel as she climbs out. with three littlenes in tow, she pushes on. the long walk of the polar bear, including one cub not much bigger than a poodle. just the kind of sighting to give even the skeptics hope. >> they're well insulated. they have a great supply of warm milk and they have a beautiful mom, so, life's all good so far. >> reporter: in two years, these cubs will be on their own and the cycle in a part of khancana that has the feel of another planet, will repeat itself, as the polar bear's long journey marches on. i'm neal karlinsky for "nightline." >> they live in a cold place but they just melt our heart. our thanks to neal karlinsky. next up, he's short on cash but long on imagination. we'll show you one man's
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in tough times, little touches around the house can make all the difference. whether it's sunshiny tea towels or a new coat of paint in the hall. but few of u u-- okay, none of us -- undertake the kind of home improvement you're about to see. here's abc's nick watt with tonight's "sign of the times." ♪ >> reporter: michelangelo. da vinci. rafael. the papaheon of italian renaissance art. the creators of mona, madonna of the meadow and the sistine chapel's ceiling. to that pantheon, let's add one more name. mr. robert burns of bring on
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the, england. >> to paint clouds you must think clouds. >> reporter: burns, a part-time country singer, is turning his petite public housing abode into a renaissance masterpiece. >> so, this is where it all ststted, nick. >> reporter: he's keeping their vision alive. >> reporter: are you done yet? >> no, this is the renaissance. we're never done. there is no such thing as over the top. >> reporter: this all started eight years ago when burns stumbled upon this book at a yard sale. a glossy vatican guidebook. >> i did look at it and i just thought, goodness me this is abablutely beautiful. so, i thought, well, i'm a decorator, this hahagot to be, you know, i should be able to do this. >> reporter: self-taught by trial and error -- >> i like to this is my piece -- >> reporter: and self-educated by tireless research -- >> this is aceiling painting for the gonzaga family. and it's reputed to be the
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first -- >> reporter: burns is recreating the best of italy in his little house, partly because he's never >> would love to go.for real. >> reporter: but he's never had the money to make that trip. so, he's recreating the antique splendors of florence and rome right here at home. i'm nick watt for "nightline" in bring on the, england. >> well done. tomorrow night, we go behind the scenes to find men who travel to foreign countries to find brides. and we confront the international marriage brokers who profit in the controversial business of mail-order brides. >> so, it's worth the extrara effort to have somebody little younger than you can probably be on your dating pool in america? >> absolutely. >> a little more attractive than you might be able to pull in harrisburg? >> why not? >> yeah. >> why not catch a nice trout? >> yeah. >> right. that's bill weir


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